The study tour is not only to experience what the technical medical field is like in Canada and the United States. Education also plays an important role in the preparations for the study tour. To this end, the participants conducted research from November 2021 until the study tour on three different scales: macro, meso and micro. The research will be conducted in groups and compiled in a preliminary report. Besides this, different guest lectures around the theme of perfection are given to prepare the students for the study tour. After this preparation, the research continued during the study tour. All the performed research gave a final conclusion on our main research question: 

‘How do the technical (bio)medical sectors of Canada and the U.S.A. strive towards perfection?’

Below, one can find the general descriptions of the research carried out before the study tour and a final conclusion which summarizes our answer on the main research question. 

Macro research - Research into general topics concerning perfectionism in Canada and the United States.

The macro research is set up to get a global idea of Canada and the United States. Different topics will be investigated: geography, culture, education, politics, technology, economy, history and healthcare. A comparison between Canada, the United States and the Netherlands will be made. In the end, the students will identify which factors influence the development of technology in healthcare in Canada and the United States.

Meso research - Research into technical medical industries of interest in Canada and the United States.

The meso research is meant to get an idea of the different technical biomedical research fields in Canada and the United States. Six (bio)medical sectors of the International Standard Industrial Classification are explored using a derived version of Michael Porter’s Diamond model. This means that demand conditions, factor conditions, related and supporting industries, government, chance, and firm strategy, structure and rivalry for each sector are investigated. Hereafter, these categories are related to each other and a comparison between The Netherlands, Canada, and the United States is made.


Micro research - In-depth research into ‘hot topics’ within biomedical research.

The final and most extensive part of the research takes place at a micro level. In this micro research, excellent science and products in specific research fields in the Netherlands are studied. These specific research fields were matched with visits of the study tour in Canada or the U.S.A. to facilitate a more in-depth discussion session during the visit.

In the research, students picked and analyzed a few cases of excellent science or excellent products within their research field. After the elaborate analysis, a comparison with the research conducted in Canada and the U.S.A. is made. The six fields of research consist of:

1. Cancer Lab on a Chip

2. Photodynamic Therapy

3. Robotics

4. Surgical Navigation

5. Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials

6. Wearables

During the micro research, the six groups of four students, had a personal supervisor from the academic staff of the University of Twente to ensure research quality and to carry out objective grading as the micro research counts as an academic course. These supervisors are also part of the study tour itself and will join one of the destinations in Canada or the U.S.A. 

Guest lectures

Andries van der Meer elaborated on his personal experiences as Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He worked here from 2013 to 2015 and developed organ-on-chip models for the blood-brain barrier and lung alveoli.
Andries van der Meer
Associate Professor
Johan van Hattum gave us a workshop about academic writing and speaking in English with a focus on successfully transferring a certain message.
Johan van Hattum
PhD candidate concerning English pronunciation
Derya Dermitas gave insight into her experiences from the years she studied in Canada, ans she elaborated on differences between Canada and the Netherlands.
Derya Dermitas
Assistant Professor

Final conclusion

In advance of the study tour, the answer to the general research question has been sought during the preliminary research. This search continued during the study tour in the form of cultural activities and site visits. These all contributed to a final answer to our overall research question: 

‘How do the technical (bio)medical sectors of Canada and the U.S.A. strive towards perfection?’

During the Boston Freedom Trail and Ellis Island, it was learned that immigrants and revolutionists had to fight for their own place and values. The history and experiences of these people probably resulted in having a mindset of hard-working and individuality. This mindset was often encountered in the workspace during the site visits, one example being the long working hours. The site visits also gave away several components which seem key while searching for perfection in the technical (bio)medical field. Multidisciplinary collaboration was commonly encountered but created in different ways at different institutes. The Wyss Institute incorporated multidisciplinary collaboration in their research pipeline, Philips has weekly multidisciplinary and global brainstorm sessions, and TransMedTech deliberately placed different research groups on the same floor. Robert Langer explained the importance of platform technologies of which we found an example at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The Wyss Institute and Siemens showed the importance of assessing the social impact of a new technology or product. At MSKCC and Harvard University, it was learned that before finding a solution to a problem, hurdles must be overcome which requires persistence and hard work. 

Therefore, it was found that Canada and the U.S.A. use multidisciplinary collaboration, innovative platform technologies, assessment of the societal impact of the problem, and a persistent, hard-working mindset to strive towards perfection in the technical (bio)medical sector.